First-ever National Passenger Safety Week introduced in California Legislature
Assemblyman Vince Fong
February 5, 2022
Supported by We Save Lives, a non-profit group organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) founder Candance Lightner, and The National Road Safety Foundation, Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County) introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 124 to recognize the last week of January as National Passenger Safety Week.
“Reckless driving puts lives at risk and leads to tragedy,” Fong said. “Educating individuals about the risks of dangerous driving and empowering passengers to speak up in unsafe situations will help us to keep our roads and families safe.”
“Whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, is speeding or driving too aggressively, or can’t stay awake at the wheel, bad driving choices puts passengers at risk of serious injury or death,” said Candace Lightner, who has been a leading traffic safety advocate since founding MADD in 1980 after losing her 13-year-old daughter Cari to a multiple repeat offender drunk driver. “We hope this ongoing campaign will empower passengers to be safety advocates, to the point where it becomes acceptable – even expected – for passengers to speak up when confronted with an irresponsible driver.”
ACR 124 declares that passengers in motor vehicles should be educated and encouraged to advocate for their own safety and the safety of others.
According to the Auto Club of Southern California and AAA Northern California, Nevada, and Utah, growing research demonstrates how vehicle passengers are not just victims but also play a critical role in crash rate. A Virginia study found crash/near crash rates among novice teenagers were 75% lower in the presence of responsible adult passengers, and 96% higher among those with risky friends.
Having someone nearby to speak-up and discourage dangerous driving behavior has proven to be a highly effective traffic safety tool.
“Much of being a safe driver comes from education,” said Michelle Anderson, director of operations at The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit founded 60 years ago to promote safe driving behavior through education. “When people are knowledgeable about driving risks like impairment, speed, aggression and drowsiness, there’s a better chance they will avoid taking those risks.”
In recognizing the week of January 23 to 29, 2022 as the first-ever National Passenger Safety Week, Fong encourages passengers to speak up when they are in a vehicle with an impaired driver.
Assemblyman Vince Fong represents the 34th Assembly District, encompassing most of Kern County including the communities of Bakersfield, Bear Valley Springs, China Lake, Frazier Park, Golden Hills, Inyokern, Lebec, Oildale, Ridgecrest, Taft and Tehachapi.